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Herbal essence comes to food industry with new IQF/freeze dry plant in California.

When you hear about herbal products, it's usually something to do with tea or shampoo. But at SupHerb Farms, Turlock, California, USA, they're producing IQF and freeze-dried herbs for the food industry.

With processing and packaging technology developed by engineers at Daregal, a century-old French herb company that has become the leading supplier of IQF herbs to the European institutional and retail markets, SupHerb will be able to produce more than 5,000 tons of frozen and freeze-dried herbs a year, with room for expansion.

SupHerb is a joint venture between Daregal and Armanino Farms, Fremont, Calif., which has been growing herbs and vegetables in Northern California since the 1940's. A new 70,000-square foot plant at Turlock doubles the capacity and work force of the Armanino plant in Fremont, and also incorporates quality assurance and microbiology laboratories.

IQF and freeze-dried herbs and specialty vegetables are used to enhance the flavor, aroma, color and texture of processed food products without resorting to fat, sodium, sulfites or preservatives. California produces 90% of the herbs in the US, and the San Joaquin Valley is especially suitable for growing high quality herbs. SupHerb works with area farmers, who harvest their herbs at night so deliveries can be made to the plant before sunup.

With individual quick freezing of freshly-picked herbs and specialty vegetables, the volatile flavor and aroma components are preserved and "fresher than fresh" product is available throughout the year without the price variations common for fresh crops.

SupHerb recently held a two-day seminar for 15 North American food brokers in order to familiarize them with the plant and the products produced there. These include the herbs basil, chervil, cilantro, dill wood, garlic, marjoram, oregano, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, spearmint, tarragon, thyme and watercress, and the specialty vegetables broccoli, chives, green beans, green onions, green peas, green peppercorns, jalapenos, leeks, mushrooms, pesto with cheese, San Francisco seasoning (a regional blend), shallots, spinach and super sweet corn.

Pea and Corn Acreage Cuts Aimed at Stabilizing Market

Growers of peas, corn and green beans in the USA said they planted 11% fewer acres this past spring, amounting to 99,000 under cultivation compared to 1.1 million in 1992. The green pea market is currently the most depressed of the three because of a surplus aggravated by poor supermarket sales.

Sharp cutbacks in pea plantings were calculated to result in 14% less acreage devoted to freezing and 37% less for canning, which should lead to stabilized supplies and prices. Meanwhile, some private label and branded label processors (including frozen pea market leader Green Giant) decided to idle pea production facilities this season.

A retreat in corn production was also part of the strategy. Acreage for freezing was down 9% from 1992, while land devoted to canning shrank by 4%. It is hoped that a decline in both areas will result in an overall firmer market for processed corn this year.

Elsewhere, plantings of green beans for freezing were expected to rise by 8%, although canning acreage was projected to be down by 1%, according to USDA's "Acreage Intentions" report. "The increase in plantings dedicated to frozen green beans follows a year of smaller plantings, which has resulted in an increasingly firmer market," said Jim Gawley, analyst with the Fair Lawn, N.J.-based Food Institute.

Downturn in Vegetables Means Less Dough for the Doughboy

A slump in Green Giant frozen vegetables dragged dollar profits down 10% for the entire North American food business of Pillsbury Co., Minneapolis, Minn., during the first six months of fiscal 1993.

An oversupply of vegetables that hurt the whole industry sent operating profits for the Green Giant unit plunging 50% for the first half of 1993, after having already plummeted 65% last year. But Paul Walsh, Pillsbury CEO, stressed that the unit is still profitable -- and increased its market share last year.

London-based Grand Metropolitan PLC, Pillsbury's parent company, fared better; its six-month profits were up 5.6% to $632.3 million (|pounds~416 million), even though net income was off 32% to $428.6 million (|pounds~282 million). But profits for the previous year had been exaggerated, because Grand Met realized a one-time gain of $274.4 million (|pounds~155 million) by selling off its Express Dairy business in Britain and Ireland.

U.S. operations, besides Green Giant, include frozen pizza, HaagenDazs ice cream and frozen and refrigerated dough products as well as dry baking mixes. All the others racked up gains for the first half of fiscal 1993. Also posting increases were the Burger King fast food chain (up 13%) and the Grand Met drink sector, including such names as Smirnoff and Absolut vodka (up 14%).

National Frozen Relocates Sugar-Snap Pea Processing

National Frozen Foods Corp., Seattle, Wash., has moved its sugar-snap pea processing operation from Albany, Ore., to Moses Lake, Wash., in the Columbia River Basin.

The relocation will allow National to take advantage of the Columbia Basin's higher-quality crop of sugar-snap peas, explained Wes Rosenbach, vice president of operations at the company.

Randy Tastad has been appointed Eastern Washington field manager, the first full-time field manager in the region, to oversee field operations for sugar-snap peas, corn, lima beans and baby whole carrots processed at Moses Lake. Peas processed there will still be shipped to the Albany plant for packaging.

Arden Ardent for Expansion

Arden International Products, Lakeville, Minnesota, producer of frozen lasagna, plans a 6,100-square foot addition. The new space will be used for production lines and a second spiral freezer for lasagna. Arden expects cumulative sales increased of 5-7% this year.

U.S. Customs May Tighten Up Import Labeling Requirements

If frozen vegetables sold in the United States actually come from Mexico, packaging should say so in big type, the U.S. Customs Service has told Pillsbury & Co., Minneapolis, Minn., which markets the Green Giant brand.

Meanwhile, the agency has asked for comments on possible reforms to its marking rule, and may issue a more stringent version, in the wake of its tentative ruling against Pillsbury, which was prompted by a complaint from the Teamsters labor union.

Pillsbury's Green Giant unit has been marketing a line of "American Mixtures," such as San Francisco Style, Manhattan Style and Heartland Style, with the country of origin given only in small print near the nutritional panel. The existing rule says that any product using the words "American" or "U.S." or the name of a U.S. locality must identify the country of origin in the same size type.

FDA Delivers a 1-2 Punch: Packaged Foods, Then Menus

Watch out, restaurateurs: the Food and Drug Administration wants to apply the same kind of nutritional truth-in-labeling requirements to menus that it has already imposed on packaged foods sold in grocery stores.

So if you're telling customers that the specialty of the house "reduces cholesterol," you'd better be able to back it up. The rules aren't quite as strict as for packaged foods; you won't have to cite nutritional chapter-and-verse -- a reference to an American Heart Association cookbook or data from the US Department of Agriculture should be enough to justify any "low-fat" claim on a menu, for example. But you'll have to say something -- you won't get away with calling a hamburger part of a "diet plate" unless it's lean meat, for example.

U.S. Cold Storage Building In Bakersfield, California

A two million cubic-foot refrigerated warehouse is being built at Bakersfield, Calif., by United States Cold Storage, Cherry Hill, N.J.

The facility, to be completed by October, is just the first of four planned expansions that could in a short time more than triple capacity at the 20-acre site in the Stockdale Industrial Park. Just a mile from a long-established U.S. Cold Storage ice plant, it will be the company's 11th facility in California. At a ground-breaking ceremony, R.G. Noll, vice president and general manager of the firm's Tulare, Calif., plant, called the latest project "the culmination of our 10-year plan" for California expansion.

Oklahoma Warehouse Opens

Henningsen Cold Storage Co., Beaverton, Oregon, USA, has just completed its first refrigerated warehouse outside the Pacific Northwest: a 3.4 million cube facility in Stilwell, Okla.

The new plant, which increases the company's total capacity to 21.2 million cubic feet, offers a stacking height of 33 feet, and is served by both truck and rail docks. The primary tenant is Stilwell Foods, which will use it a consolidated Midwest warehousing point. Services to other companies are also offered.
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Title Annotation:instant quick frozen
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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